Northeast United face Mumbai City FC on the road next on Saturday at the GMC Bambolim Stadium. Ahead of the Highlanders’ clash against the Islanders, Assistant Coach Alison Kharsyntiew and Benjamin Lambot interacted with the media and here’s what they had to say.
Northeast United have won both of their last two matches defeating Jamshedpur FC and ATK Mohun Bagan. “I would like to give credit to all the players for their hard work and for their good performance for the last two matches and hopefully continue in the same spirit and performance in tomorrow’s match,” Alison Kharsyntiew said.
The Highlanders will go up against the Islanders who have been in a terrific form and are on a 12 match unbeaten run. But, Coach Alison feels his side is capable enough to do the double over the League leaders. “Mumbai City FC are a good team but we must believe in ourselves that we can beat them tomorrow. We just have to be disciplined in our attacking principle and defensive principle and be confident,” he added.
Mumbai City FC are flying high in the Indian Super League and it seems nobody can them. On being asked about any special plans to stop the Islanders coach Alison said, “We need to dictate the play. We need to control the game. If we don’t have the ball, we need to defend well and in possession of the ball, we need to create chances and then utilize it. Big game for us tomorrow and that’s our main aim for tomorrow.”
Mumbai City undoubtedly posses one of the top forward lines in the ISL and are a threat to any team. Coach Alison told us about how his side are planning to mark their players. “It’s very simple, we have to work as a team, communicate well and be disciplined in our defending principles. If we can do that for the 90 minutes, then we can surely get over them,” he added.
Ashutosh Mehta was out of action against ATK Mohun Bagan owning to an injury and even Dylan Fox was substituted due to an hamstring issue. Giving us an update on both the players the 33 years old said, “They have been recovering well and slowly. The Medical team has been working hard to get them back in action as soon as possible,”
The Highlanders have failed to keep clean sheets despite performing well and Benjamin Lambot told us about how his side are working to get a solution to it. “The main problem for us was on the set-piece. But you can see now that we are stronger on this point. We worked a lot on it in the training.”
“In the league all the teams have good offensive lines so of course they can get a goal. But if you score more than the opponents, it is the most important thing in football. For the moment, our attacking side is very well so we are going to push them and defensively we are going to be more strong in the game. Of course, Mumbai City have a good attack line, but we are going to take them like any other team and go for the win tomorrow,” he added.
Mumbai City FC have lost just one game and that was against Northeast United in their opening game. Coach Alison Kharsyntiew was asked if their win against Mumbai in the reverse fixture back in November will have a role to play psychologically. “We have beaten them once, but every game is different. Tomorrow is a new game and it’s a new challenge for us. We are doing the best we can. I am confident that the players will put in their best effort to get the three points,” he said.
Northeast United FC parted ways with Spanish national Gerard Nus midway through the season and Khalid Jamil has been handed th responsibility to lead the team in the Indian Top flight. Benjamin Lambot expressed his views about how the players adapted to the new coaching staff and the mood in the camp. “It’s always something special when it happens in a club, but this is not the first time for me. It’s taken one or two days to make the change in the mood, but after that the coach we know that it was Khalid. We have known him from the beginning of the season.”
“So for us, it was not a big change and we keep going on the same walk. We put a little bit more aggression, a little bit more discipline that we missed in the last few games, but we don’t change a lot of things. So, we bring the same basics and the coach (Khalid Jamil) now brings his little touch and that’s maybe what’s changed now. We always keep together and keep the team spirit,” he signed off.